Food waste recycling gets £1.3m boost

The City of Edinburgh Council will receive almost £1.3million to support a phased roll-out of food waste collections to 140,000 households across the city this year.

13 Sep 11

This is the first funding from the Scottish Government’s £4million Food Waste Programme through Zero Waste Scotland, which will help councils and businesses recycle food waste. 

The permanent roll-out of food waste collections in the city follows the success of a trial kerbside food waste collection service which started in April to 20,000 homes, including 5,000 ‘high-density’ properties such as flats.  

This week the service will extend to 15,000 more Edinburgh homes and a  planned roll-out to provide the service to most Edinburgh properties will continue in coming years. 

Edinburgh is the first city to roll-out food waste collections to flatted properties in Scotland.  Food waste collected in Edinburgh will be recycled into green energy.

In Edinburgh today, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, said:

“By growing our food waste collections, we can position Scotland at the forefront of refuse management and move closer towards a zero waste society.  Collecting and recycling is not just about managing our waste responsibly, it also allows Scotland to build ‘green’ industries and create ‘green’ jobs.

“Edinburgh households produce around 40,000 tonnes of food waste each year - this equates to around 254 plates of food per minute being thrown in the bin. Two-thirds of this waste is good, perfectly edible  food. Reducing this should be our first priority, to ensure we make the most of our resources and ultimately save money – each household throws out £430 of unspoiled food each year. The rest is unavoidable food waste, like chicken bones and banana peels and, for this, recycling is by far the best alternative.”

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Unavoidable food waste is an important resource for Scotland, as it can be used to create renewable energy, fertiliser – and ultimately jobs – from something that most of us currently just send to rot in landfill.

“Zero Waste Scotland has created our £4 million food waste programme to enable councils and others to realise this potential by collecting food waste for recycling from homes and businesses. With support from householders, together we can make a huge step towards zero waste in Scotland.”

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environment Leader for The City of Edinburgh Council, said: 

“In only four months, 20,000 households in Edinburgh have recycled over 100 tonnes of food waste, the equivalent in weight to 100 small cars. 

“The pilot’s success shows that it is possible to recycle food waste even if you live in city centre flats and tenements.  Having trialled a number of different on-street bins, we are confident that food waste can be collected hygienically. 

“Thanks to support from Zero Waste Scotland, by the end of March next year 140,000 households will receive a food waste collection service.   Following this, we plan to continue the roll-out to the majority of Edinburgh households, which is around 235,000 homes.” 

Karen Campbell from Edinburgh already collects food waste in her flat. She said:

“Collecting food waste is very easy to do and doesn’t cause any noticeable problems. We collect the waste in a small container which doesn’t take up too much space in the kitchen and empty it regularly into the food waste collection bin on our street. The bins are sealed so they’re hygienic and I’ve never noticed a smell coming from them.

“Two perceived barriers to recycling people have is that it’s time consuming and complicated, but I’ve found collecting food waste straightforward. I think once people try collecting food waste, they’ll realise that it’s easier to do than they think. It also makes you more aware about the amount of good food you’re throwing away, and that motivates you to try to avoid it as much as possible.”

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